As a trusted industry expert, I am heartbroken to see how unauthorized people and companies easily pose as experienced roofing professionals and scam innocent residents. At McClellands Contracting and Roofing, we think it is our duty to help you steer clear of these scams and stop losing money on a faulty, rushed roofing job.
In this blog post, we will expose some of the most common types of roofing scams and give you tips on how to avoid them. Your roof is a valuable asset, and falling victim to fraud can leave you with an unsafe roof, incomplete work, and huge debts.
Who Are These Roofing Scammers?
Roofing scammers are individuals and companies who prey on unsuspecting homeowners for their financial gain. Understanding who these crooks are can help you be more cautious and protect yourself from falling victim to their schemes.
Unauthorized Handymen and Organizations
One of the primary characteristics of roofing scammers is their lack of a valid local roofing license. Legitimate contractors are required to have licenses that demonstrate their qualifications and adherence to industry standards. Scammers, on the other hand, may not have the necessary skills, knowledge, or experience to perform legal, quality work.
Storm chasers show up at your doorstep quickly after severe weather or a natural disaster to take advantage of a homeowner’s vulnerabilities. They only seek out homeowners who have experienced damage and attempt to capitalize on their misfortune. These opportunistic handymen may offer free inspections, promise permanent quick fixes, and hurry you into signing a contract without conducting an extensive inspection or giving you a roof condition report with a detailed and accurate written estimate.
Let’s examine how these fraudulent companies cheat and take advantage of homeowners.
10 Dangerous Roofing Scams and How to Save Yourself from Them
By following these tips, you can confidently navigate the roofing world and make informed decisions about who you hire, ensuring they are trustworthy and ethical roofing professionals. So stay vigilant and protect yourself from these swindling individuals who prey on unsuspecting homeowners.
#1 The Tempting Trap of an Incredibly Low Quote
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and that holds true for roof quotes as well. Scammers often lure homeowners with remarkably low bids, only to raise the price once the project is underway.
Protect yourself by gathering multiple quotes, comparing detailed project plans, and ensuring that any potential price changes are explicitly outlined in the contract.
#2 Free Upgrades that Aren’t Delivered
It’s a classic trick – some individuals promise you a free upgrade to premium materials as an enticing offer. However, when the time comes for installation, they conveniently “forget” their promise and install standard materials instead. In some cases, they might even charge you for the upgrade but still use off-brand roofing products.
Save your money by always requesting written specifications and ensuring you get exactly what you paid for.
#3 Exaggerating The Need For Repairs
Storm chasers often exaggerate the extent of repairs needed. They may say something is damaged without showing or explaining it to you properly. They may even show vague images or use jargon to make it seem more complicated. This is done to inflate repair costs by taking advantage of a homeowner’s lack of expertise in roofing matters.
Make sure you are not obliged to pay for, or get, additional services after a free roof inspection. Always ask for images, videos, and a roof inspection report with a detailed estimate of the repair costs and your product options.
#4 Pressure Tactics – Rushing Your Decision
Roof fraudsters are skilled at applying pressure tactics to coerce you into quick decision-making or filing insurance claims prematurely. Remember, reputable contractors understand the significance of informed choices and will never rush you. Take your time, research extensively, and don’t feel compelled to make hasty choices.
#5 Promising to Cover Your Deductible – Roof Insurance Fraud
If they offer to cover all or some part of your insurance deductible, it’s a clear red flag. Engaging in such practices is insurance fraud, and it’s illegal. As a responsible homeowner, it’s your duty to pay the deductible, and any attempt to waive this amount is deceptive and against the law.
#6 Threatening to Take Legal Action
Some companies resort to threatening legal action if you try to back out of a contract. So keep in mind that if no work has commenced and no expenses have been paid, you typically have the right to walk away without repercussions. Always know your rights, and don’t let intimidation tactics hold you hostage.
#7 Take Your Money and Run
The most devastating scam involves people taking your advance deposit and vanishing into thin air without completing the job. Protect yourself from this nightmare by only paying a deposit once materials have been delivered to your property, the work has officially begun, and both parties have signed the contract. This way, you minimize the risk of falling victim to such thieves. These are mostly out-of-town people or companies coming to your town who are looking for new targets.
#8 Beware of Cash Payments
When a company requests cash or offers discounts on cash payments, it is a sign that they are keeping things off the books. With cash payments, it becomes challenging to trace and document transactions, creating a breeding ground for dishonest practices. It’s always best to have physical receipts which you can hold on to in order to hold the roofing contractor accountable if something goes wrong with the project.
#9 Pushing for Large Down Payments
A reasonable down payment is typically around 20% or less of the total project cost and is standard practice. Roofing scammers generally demand approximately 50% of the total cost, which should raise some red flags. This is not a good sign, and you should not agree to pay more than what’s necessary.
To protect yourself from potential scams, always make sure to review the payment terms outlined in the contract thoroughly.
#10 Asking You to Obtain Local Permits
Legitimate roofing professionals will already have the necessary work permits for the area. They understand the importance of handling all the paperwork themselves to ensure compliance with local regulations. Don’t fall into the trap of being burdened with permit responsibilities.
Protect yourself from potential legal issues by ensuring your chosen contractor is licensed and has all the permits required to begin the work. Your peace of mind is worth it!
Let’s look at some ways to stay safe from roofing scammers.
How to Avoid Roofing Scams
Before allowing someone to work on your roof, it’s crucial to take some necessary steps to ensure you hire a reputable and qualified contractor.
Research and Gather Referrals
Start by researching local roofing contractors and gathering referrals from friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues who have recently had roofing work done. Recommendations from people you trust can be valuable in finding reliable contractors.
Read Online Reviews
Look for online reviews and testimonials about the contractor’s work and reputation. Check platforms such as Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau to get a sense of customer satisfaction.
Check Their Roofing License and Local Permits
Verify that the roofing contractor is licensed to operate in your area and carries proper liability insurance. Request images of their license and insurance certificates to ensure they are valid and up-to-date.
Ask Them to Document the Roof Inspection
The inspection documentation should include written descriptions, photographs, and videos to provide a clear visual representation of your roof’s current state. This documentation not only serves as evidence of the contractor’s assessment but also helps you understand the extent of the work required and the reasons behind their proposed solutions. Plus, it will be handy during a roof insurance claim.
Request A Written Contract
Insist on a detailed, written contract that clearly outlines all aspects of the project, including the scope of work, materials to be used, project timeline, payment terms, and warranty information. Review the contract carefully and ask for clarification on any unclear points before signing.
Are you looking for a reliable roofing contractor for your home in Pennsylvania? Then don’t worry about falling prey to such roofing scams. With our company, your mind will be put at ease.
Experience The Authentic Difference
Don’t get tricked or settle for less when it comes to your home’s safety and curb appeal. Enjoy a world-class roofing experience with McClellands Contracting and Roofing. We do everything it takes to make your roofing experience cost-effective, stress-free, and flawless! Our experts are available to solve your doubts and help you in selecting the best roofing contractor in your area. If you need residential roofing services in Pittsburgh, PA, you can rely on our team of licensed, experienced, and talented professionals. We’ve been helping Michigan homeowners for a long time, and we look forward to working with you too!
Call us at (412) 353-5660, to discuss your roofing needs with one of our experts, and feel the difference as you interact with a reliable and ethical roofing professional.